- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Spade digs in

David Spade burst onto the comedy scene with his take-no-prisoners “Hollywood Minute” segment on “Saturday Night Live,” which taunted and teased celebrities of the day during his run on the NBC sketch show in the early 1990s.

Now that “8 Simple Rules” has been canceled (Mr. Spade had a brief run on the ABC sitcom beginning in 2004 and made guest appearances before that) and after a few weak stabs at film comedy, he’s going back to his roots.

The comic will star in “The Showbiz Show,” a new half-hour comedy series from Comedy Central that will allow him to be as catty as he can be, Associated Press reports.

The new show will debut in September, representatives of the cable network said.

The material for Mr. Spade’s unrelenting wit is surely out there — from the whirlwind romance between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to Russell Crowe’s battle with a hotel lobby phone.

The joke possibilities are endless, Mr. Spade told AP, and what once seemed like Hollywood-insider information is now everywhere.

“There’s so much that’s funny in all these magazines and shows that there needs to be a different point of view,” Mr. Spade says.

“I’m not saying it has to be mean — mean jokes aren’t always the funniest. I think it’s just making fun and taking a new angle, and kind of doing what people are thinking for real.”

Mr. Spade’s new program will feature a mix similar to that of “The Daily Show,” with faux correspondents, on-location pieces, parodies containing film clips and a lineup of celebrity guests. He created the show with writing partner Hugh Fink.

Closer’ to broadcast

TNT may be a cable network, but its new series “The Closer” is drawing broadcast-size numbers.

The Kyra Sedgwick series attracted more than 7 million viewers last week, more than ABC drew all night with any one show and in the ballpark of shows broadcast by Fox and NBC, Associated Press reports, citing data from Nielsen Media Research.

There also was good news for TNT’s oft-repeated Western “Into the West,” which drew a collective 11.3 million viewers last week over several airings.

Though it’s not truly a fair comparison — some viewers may have watched multiple times — those numbers would have placed the show in fourth place on Nielsen’s list of last week’s most-watched broadcast programs.

Among broadcast networks, ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” again was the week’s most popular show.

The alphabet network may also claim bragging rights, to a degree, for its coverage of the National Basketball Association finals. Even though fans haven’t seemed to care much about the competition, the three prime-time games helped ABC place first among the youthful viewers advertisers seek.

CBS was still the most popular network among all viewers, primarily because its repeats fare better than most of its rivals. For the week, the network averaged 7.8 million viewers, followed by ABC with 6.9 million, NBC with 6.1 million, Fox with 4.9 million,UPN with 2.6 million, the WB with 2.3 million and Pax TV with 590,000.

For the week of June 13 through 19, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 15.7 million; the NBA Finals Game 5: San Antonio at Detroit, ABC, 13.1 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 12.4 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 11.3 million; and the NBA Finals Game 4: San Antonio at Detroit, ABC, 10.9 million.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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